What is a Co-Op?

So exactly what is a Co-Op?

Cooperative, also co-operative or co-op, is a business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for a collective good. A co-op is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.”  A cooperative can be defined as a business owned and controlled by the people who use its services or by the people who work there.

Poudre Valley Co-op is an agricultural cooperative, or a farmers’ co-op.  More specifically Poudre Valley Co-op is a agricultural supply cooperative.  Which means we supply our members with products and services for agricultural production including, fuel, seeds, fertilizers, auto/machinery repair, and a farm supply store.

Poudre Valley Co-op follows four basic principals of operation:

  1. Open Membership: Membership is voluntary and without regard to race, religion, sex, age or partisan politics.
  2. Democratic Control: Cooperatives are member owned and controlled by a member elected board of directors.
  3. Patronage Refunds: This principle is the heart of the cooperative way of doing business. Poudre Valley Co-op exists solely to meet the needs of their members for goods and services. When Poudre Valley Co-op has a profit left over at the end of the fiscal year we may distribute the owners’ share of the profit back to the owners in the form of a patronage refund. These profits are distributed in direct proportion to a co-op member’s patronage (purchases).
  4. Limited or no interest on equity capital: This principle ensures that control of Poudre Valley Co-op will remain in the hands of all the members. Control cannot be seized by an individual or a small group of investors.